Last Saturday supporters of Changing Attitude (including the Director and one trustee) marched with a float celebrating LGBT Christians in the Manchester Gay Pride parade. There were 30 of us altogether, Anglicans, RC members of Quest and members of the Evangelical Fellowship for Lesbian and Gay Christians.
The float had been designed and created by members of the congregation of St Agnes Church, North Reddish.
A thousand-plus LGBT people took part in the parade on floats and on foot. Tens of thousands lined the streets to watch, cheer, applaud and whistle enthusiastically, large numbers of them lesbian and gay.
Gay Pride provides an opportunity for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people to let their hair down (or bank it up) and be outrageous for a day, entertain the masses, be totally extrovert and provoke conservative Christians into ‘disgusted of Tunbridge Wells’ mode.
The drag queens were out in force, looking gorgeous
There has been a growing number of LGBT members of the police force marching each year, and they were received with huge cheers.
LGBT members of the Prison Service marched with their float. I addressed their conference in Nottingham last year.
The Manchester Lesbian and Gay Foundation were there, marching in force as homo-heroes.
No gay pride would be complete without some muscle men – these were from Manworth-tv and were videoing and interviewing all and sundry.
Nor would Pride be complete without a group of leather men. This group agreed to be pictured with one of the priests from CA.
An outrageous group of old queens marched under the banner ‘Salford Ladies United Temperance Society’
… accompanied by a number of relevant placards.
A conservative Christian group occupied their usual place holding banners with quotations from Romans 1, kept at a safe distance by the ploice. I don’t know what those poor Romans ever did to be pilloried this way at a Gay Pride Parade in 2009 Manchester.
They were tastefully countered by three members of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.
Increasingly, Christians are participating in Gay Pride around the UK, outnumbering those objecting to our presence and getting an enthusiastic welcome from the crowds. We reflect the mood of the majority of Christians: some of us are gay – get over it!
Gay Pride parades provide overwhelming evidence against those conservative Christians who think that LGBT people are an insignificant minority of the population. Where is the ex-gay contingent? Nowhere - because there is no point to being ex-gay apart from the need to conform to a conservative evangelical understanding of the Bible and a reactionary stance to the varieties of human sexualities and expressions created by God.
Statistics and scientific research are used by various sides in this debate in evidence of particular polarised positions. We are here to change attitudes, using academic research, theological study, and last Saturday, bu gathering, enjoying ourselves en mass and entertaining the crowd.